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    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is the most common neurosurgical treatment for Parkinson's disease motor symptoms. In preclinical models, STN DBS provides neuroprotection for substantia nigra (SN) dopamine neurons and increases BDNF in the nigrostriatal system and primary motor cortex. However, whether BDNF signaling in the SN participates in the neuroprotective effects of DBS remains unknown. We demonstrate that STN DBS in male rats activates signaling downstream of tropomyosin receptor kinase type B (trkB), namely, phosphorylation of Akt and ribosomal protein S6, in SN neurons. Long-term trkB blockade abolished STN DBS-mediated neuroprotection of SN neurons following progressive 6-hydroxydopamine lesion and was associated with decreased phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 immunoreactivity. Acute trkB blockade in rats with stable nigrostriatal denervation attenuated the forelimb akinesia improvement normally induced by STN DBS. These results suggest that STN DBS increases BDNF-trkB signaling to contribute to the neuroprotective and symptomatic efficacy of STN DBS.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) is increasingly used in mid- to late-stage Parkinson's disease (PD) but with an incomplete knowledge of its molecular mechanisms. STN DBS is neuroprotective against neurotoxicants in animal models and increases BDNF. This study is the first to show that BDNF signaling through the cognate tropomyosin receptor kinase type B (trkB) receptor occurs in substantia nigra pars compacta neurons and is required for neuroprotection. In addition, blockade of trkB unexpectedly reduced the functional benefit of STN DBS on a short timescale that is inconsistent with canonical trkB signaling pathways, suggesting a noncanonical role for trkB in STN DBS-mediated behavioral effects. Together, these data implicate trkB signaling in the symptomatic efficacy and disease-modifying potential of STN DBS. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/376786-11$15.00/0.


    D Luke Fischer, Christopher J Kemp, Allyson Cole-Strauss, Nicole K Polinski, Katrina L Paumier, Jack W Lipton, Kathy Steece-Collier, Timothy J Collier, Daniel J Buhlinger, Caryl E Sortwell. Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation Employs trkB Signaling for Neuroprotection and Functional Restoration. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2017 Jul 12;37(28):6786-6796

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    PMID: 28607168

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